The Apostle Islands are located at the very northern tip of Wisconsin. The islands are a true vacationer’s paradise, as well as one of the state’s most beautiful and must see attractions. The islands boast famous red and purple sandstone sea caves and cliffs, history, lighthouses, wildlife and much more. Located on Lake Superior, travelers can explore the islands by hiking, kayaking, sailing or cruises.
My partner and I enjoyed three lovely days in this gorgeous area this past August, which was a perfect late summer vacation. We stayed in the charming harbor city of Bayfield at Pier Plaza Lodging, giving us easy accessible to the cruises and ferries, which take you to the various twenty two Apostle Islands. The lodging was right across the street from the cruise pick up, which was extremely convenient. The idea is to get in line early for the cruise in order to get a seat on the top floor (the best seats on the boat), as it fills up quickly.
The cruise ride itself takes roughly an hour to both Stockton Island and then back to Bayfield. During the cruise, we were greeted by friendly and helpful crew members, who gave us history and facts about the different islands as we passed them. The breeze, weather and views we encountered were fantastic as we glided along Lake Superior.
Stockton Island is the second largest of the Apostle Islands. (The number one spot goes to Madeline Island, which we also visited during our stay). When we arrived at Stockton Island, we were awestruck by its scenic and rugged beauty. We were greeted by rangers and workers on the island who explained the various trails available for hiking. We also found helpful printed maps and map poster guides at the main center hub. (Camping is also available on the island, which we thought would have been fun if we had an extra day in town).
The only complaint of this wonderful excursion is that it was not long enough. It is called a day hiking trip, while you only get four to five hours total (two hours for the cruise and roughly two hours for hiking). This was not at all enough time to fully enjoy the island and see everything you want to experience.
We ended up choosing the scenic Julian Bay Trail, a quarter mile loop including the Anderson Point Trailhead and Julian Bay, which included a lovely, small beach. We also passed gorgeous wildlife, plants, flowers, trees and fascinating rock formations.
On the cruise back to Bayfield, we went from perfectly sunny, sky blue weather to angry, gray clouds and some rain. (Weather can change in an instant in Lake Superior, called “The Boss” for a very good reason).
Overall, the Apostle Islands Cruise and hiking trip on Stockton Island were very enjoyable. However, I would strongly recommend that the hiking trip considers giving visitors and hikers a couple extra hours to thoroughly enjoy all that the island has to offer.
Photos: Jennifer Lunz
For more information on the Apostle Islands Cruises and various island tours offered, including schedules and ticket pricing, please visit the website.